Photo by Vince Taroc.
Fleets looking for excellent fuel efficiency can look to the Prius, the first hybrid vehicle. It still has the best fuel economy of the hybrids available, and my test drive of the 2016 Prius Two Eco proved just how great that fuel economy is.
The 2016 Prius is a fourth-generation vehicle, and it’s got an updated look that the company says improves aerodynamics. The modern design looks similar to that of the new fuel-cell Mirai. The new Prius is 2.4 inches lower, 0.6 inches wider, and 0.8 inches lower than the 2015 model, which provides more occupant and cargo room, including increased front and rear head room.
The Prius Eco gets an estimated 58 mpg city and 53 mpg highway for a combined fuel economy of 56 mpg. It’s a good jump from the 2015 Prius, which gets an estimated 50 mpg combined. My average was closer to 60 mpg, and after about a 70-mile drive, the fuel gauge hadn’t even dropped.
In addition to telling me my average mpg for each portion of the drive, the Prius also advises me how to save more fuel. The vehicle’s driving support display advised me, on separate drives, that I could use the hybrid system indicator, decrease acceleration, and maintain speed in order to get better fuel economy — that’s after averaging about 60 mpg. This car has exceedingly high expectations.
Photo by Vince Taroc.
The Prius retained its 1.8L 4-cylinder engine but uses smaller and lighter hybrid components, including a new lithium-ion hybrid battery (in this model and all others except for the Prius Two) that replaces a nickel-metal hydride battery. The smaller battery is packaged under the rear seat, helping to provide more space in the cargo area.
I enjoyed driving this vehicle. It had smooth handling that made me not want to get back into my regular car and quiet operation. The spoiler bar can be seen in the rear-view mirror, which was slightly bothersome, but something I can get used to. I spoke to a Prius owner at work and she’s not bothered by it at all.
MSRP for the Prius Two Eco is $24,700, while the base model Two costs $24,200. That extra $500 buys you four more miles per gallon (the Two gets 52 mpg combined), among other things. There are a few other options that go all the way to $30,000.
If you’re looking to green your fleet without wanting to worry about electric vehicle charging infrastructure, natural gas fueling stations, hydrogen fueling stations, or propane autogas fueling stations, the Prius (and other hybrids) may be the best choice.